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New policy director hired

California Certified Organic Farmers, one of North America’s oldest and largest organic certification agencies, recently hired Claudia Reid as its first full-time policy director. The position demonstrates the organization’s commitment to lead the organic movement through advocacy for governmental policies that protect and encourage organic agriculture, according to a CCOF news release.

Reid brings more than 25 years of policy expertise, as she previously was policy director for the California Coalition for Food and Farming. Before that, she was legislative director for the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources division. Reid will be based in Sacramento.



Orchard View promotion

Orchard View Farms, a fourth-generation family business in The Dalles, Oregon, has promoted Brenda (Bailey) Thomas to general manager. Her father, Bob Bailey, is president of the company, and her uncle, Ken Bailey, is vice president. Her sister Bridget Bailey is quality control and special projects manager.

Thomas joined Orchard View Farms last year as warehouse manager. She has been on the board of directors for 15 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University in Boston and holds a veterinary medicine degree from Oregon State University/Washington State University. She and her husband ran a veterinary practice in The Dalles, Oregon, before selling the business to allow Thomas to become more involved in Orchard View Farms.

The company’s first orchards were established by her great-grandparents in the 1920s. It is now one of the largest family-owned cherry-growing operations in the world and was one of the first cherry producers in the United States to qualify for EurepGAP standards. The Baileys were recognized as Stewards of the Land by the American Farmland Trust in 2002 and as Good Fruit Growers of the Year by Good Fruit Grower magazine in 2003.

The Grant J. Hunt Company is the exclusive sales and marketing agency for Orchard View Farms. Grant Hunt said Thomas is helping Orchard View Farms prepare for the future as its tonnage ­continues to grow.




WAC board changes

Barbara Walkenhauer of Selah has been appointed to the board of the Washington Apple Commission. She succeeds Jim Keller of Yakima, who received a Golden Apple Award at the commission’s annual meeting in March. Commissioners Brian Sand of Orondo and Cragg Gilbert of Yakima were reelected to the board. Gilbert is chair of the commission, and Dale Foreman of Wenatchee is vice chair.



United Fresh hires Wenzing

United Fresh Produce Association hired Claudia Wenzing, a member of the senior staff of Produce for Better Health Foundation, as its vice president of business development. At United Fresh, she will help member companies develop programs to boost sales and strengthen the United Fresh Research and Education Foundation.

Wenzing was with Produce for Better Health for 12 years, serving as vice president of development since 2000. She was responsible for annual and special campaign fundraising, planned giving, and sponsorship of activities and programs. Previously, she worked in fundraising and development for Youth Services International, a residential academy serving at-risk youth. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, magna cum laude, from Towson State University in ­Maryland.



USApple appointment

Todd Hultquist has joined the U.S. Apple Association as director for communications and membership. Before joining USApple, he was a senior manager in charge of communications and media relations at the Food Marketing Institute. He previously worked as an independent marketing communications consultant and as a manager with the Marriott ­Corporation.

At USApple, he will develop a strong outreach program to communicate with growers, state associations, and industry partners, as well as the media. He will also be involved in the association’s crisis management and advocacy efforts.


Ag director retires

Valoria Loveland, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture for the past six years, retired on May 5. Robert Gore, deputy director, will serve as interim director until a permanent director is hired.

Loveland served as president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in 2006-2007. Before joining the Department of Agriculture in 2002, she was government relations ­director at Nuvotec, a technology commercialization and consulting company in Richland, Washington. She was state senator for Washington’s 16th legislative district from 1993 to 2001.